Why Do People Use Social Media?

social media


Despite its popularity, social media is still a relatively new way of communicating. Among internet users, it’s now the place where they spend most of their time online. And they now have more choice than ever where to spend time as social media sites are growing at an alarming rate and new platforms are popping up all the time.

Social media was defined by renowned marketing expert Andreas Kaplan as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content." Or, to put it simply, it’s somewhere you can share things online.

The concept of sharing is key to social media. It’s why Facebook started. It was a way for students at Harvard University, where founder Mark Zukerberg attended, to keep in touch with one another. Word spread about how great it was, and it quickly became the global phenomenon it is today, with over 1bn members across the globe and Zuckerberg now a multi-billionaire.

Other content sharing platforms soon opened up, including Twitter, MySpace, Pintrest, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Bebo. Some are now defunct. Others are reaching popularity levels equal to Facebook. And, despite their differences, they all have one thing in common: sharing of information. Social media allows users to share comments, photos, videos and links to websites they like. Other users can interact and share things of their own and have virtual conversation with people, whether they know them or not.

Businesses soon figured out they should get themselves in on the action too, and started creating Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of their own. Now almost any business worth its salt is using social media to promote its goods and services and engage with its customers. They send updates, run competitions and showcase new websites and products through social media. Bigger companies use Twitter as their customer service departments or set up separate PR divisions.

Today’s social media users are more web-savvy than ever and use Twitter and Facebook to make choices about where to go to eat, go on a day out or which business to use, or avoid, for a service. They ask for recommendations, talk to other users about businesses or simply choose a business because they like its Facebook feed.

More and more users now use Twitter and Facebook to act as mini-news reporters in their area too. They warn motorists where traffic jams are, and if adverse weather conditions have affected something. Events like music festivals and sports competitions can have smartphone pictures of them relayed back instantly too, so other users can feel a part of it.

Of course, social media has its downside. Trolling of users and people breaking the law, sometimes without realising it, are regular occurrences. It’s best to keep things simple, and be social as the name suggests. If you’re not sure whether you should post something, then don’t.

Social media is a wonderful to reach out quickly to lots of people. Some you might know. Others you might not. It doesn’t matter. Social media has its own community and being a part of it is easy. Just join in and enjoy it.

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Facebook and Google to Become BFFs?

It would have seemed impossible a few years ago but internet rivals Facebook and Google have seemingly put aside their differences to work together on online advertising.

For the first time ever, Google will offer its existing customers advertising space on Facebook’s site. It will use its DoubleClick software, which allows businesses to buy adverts on lots of different sites, to post retargeted ads on Facebook. The social media giant’s website was never preciously available for Google customers in what was seen in the industry as a huge snub, and clients were turning elsewhere to specifically advertise on Facebook, which may partly explain the change of heart.

Facebook launched its own ad buying software, FBX, in June 2012 as a direct rival to Google’s. It works on a cookie-collection system based on a user’s web history and places a targeted advert on its own site, as well as others. DoubleClick works on a similar basis, so by allowing it to post on Facebook, both companies can make money and benefit from the partnership.

And as unlikely bedfellows Google and Facebook may appear to be, there are examples of where they’ve worked together before. Just not as obviously. Google bought Wildfire, which develops ad campaigns for Facebook, in 2012 and Facebook repaid the favour with its purchase of Atlas, an ad server that sells adverts on Google’s network.

The news was broken last week by Google in a four-paragraph statement, so chances are it made the first move. That would make sense as, from a commercial perspective, giving consumers the chance to buy targeted ad space on Facebook makes sense, despite it being a competitor.

It will be a few months until the partnership will take effect fully. Then it will be interesting to see if the internet world’s largest entities really can become BFFs.

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#chestertweets up for top award

MC Awards logoWe’re delighted to say that we’ve been nominated in the Marketing Cheshire Annual Awards 2013 in the Best Social Media Initiative of the Year category.

So we’re off to the lovely Tatton Park for a fancy black-tie do at the end of November where, hopefully, we’ll pick up the main prize. There’s some tough opposition though from Chester Mystery Plays, Fanwaze (Chester Race Company) and Your Carden Summer (Carden Park Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa). We’re the newest company on the shortlist so to even be nominated is fantastic.

Our Steve posted a message of thanks on Facebook, which you can read here if you haven’t yet, and is grateful to everyone who’s helped make #chestertweets a success. It was a simple idea he got one night, and, inspired by the positive comments he got, decided to turn it into a fully-fledged business. The rest, as they say, is history.

We’re really looking forward to representing the #chestertweets community at the Marketing Cheshire Annual Awards and hope we can do you proud. If you’re not part of our gang and would like to be, please click here and help us keep Chester social. And look out for us in the press in the next few weeks.

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Tips to Generate Social Media Traffic

Chances are, because you’re reading this blog, you use social media for your business. But if you don’t or you’d like to do it even better, we’ve put together some tips that will help you generate more traffic to your social media accounts.

Social media is a brilliant way to attract customers to your business. Building engagement and people interested in who you are and what you do can bring fantastic results to any business. They work equally well on Twitter and Facebook, so these techniques can be applied on both platforms.

Let’s start with your profile. Have you completed it? Does it have a link to your website? Have you written something concise and snappy that promotes what you do and will interest readers? If you’ve answered no to any of these, you need to re-do your profile. Have a look at other people’s if you need inspiration.

Use lots of different social media platforms. Some consumers prefer looking on Facebook while many like Twitter because it’s instant. Using both, and others like LinkedIn and Pintrest, will bring more traffic and you can compare results to see which works best for you. Join some of the less well-known networks too, like Tumblr and more specialised ones pertinent to your industry.

Posting regularly is a must. Try and post something at least once a day, even if it’s just an interesting link your followers might like. And remember to engage, so post about things that interest you and funny stories occasionally so you’re not constantly selling. Retweet, like and share other people’s posts as well.

If you write a blog, which we’d recommend you should, post that on your social media accounts too. Add a brief intro, like a newspaper headline to hook people in, and ask people to comment. If you’re pressed for time or have several accounts to run, there’s software available online, some of it free, you can use to post your blog for you. Add share buttons to your blogs so people can pass them on easily.

Join groups and communities online or start your own. Creating your own conversations and joining in with others helps you build your authority and people will start to see you as an expert. Again, don’t sell. Instead, offer helpful advice and information. You never know where it might lead.

Hashtags are everywhere on social media. Use them appropriately. Find the ones that are relevant to your business or look at what’s trending and talk about that. You can also look for local hashtags and designated hours in your area, though none will be as good as #chesterhour!

When you post is really important too. Thinking about when your customers are online and posting then will bring rewards. Use trial and error to see when’s best to post and post the same link several times a day to give as many people as possible to read it. Again, there are scheduling tools available for this but don’t rely on these as it can become obvious that’s what you’re doing, especially if you aren’t around and someone replies to your post.

Hopefully these tips will bring more traffic, and, ultimately, more business for you. Let us know if you try any of them and the results it brings you.

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The History of the Hashtag and How to Use it Properly

Hashtags are everywhere on Twitter. The # symbol inserted before a word or phrase is used to categorise messages and mark groups or events. Facebook now its own hashtags and TV programmes even flash them up on screen as they start so viewers can talk about the programme on social media.

Using a hashtag is second-nature on Twitter today. A quick glance down my own Twitter feed this morning reveals fifteen different hashtags by various people and companies each wanting to highlight their own issue or what products and services they’re offering. Some accounts have multiple hashtags in use. Not bad when you’ve only got 140-characters to use!

The hashtag was “invented” in 2007 by Chris Messina, a designer working at Google who played a big part in the marketing of Firefox, when he sent this tweet: “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?” Since then, sending tweets like this has become commonplace. Journalists and news agencies started using them to report on events and emergencies to create a feed. Real-time reports are now a valued news-source and has been adapted for sporting events and music concerts to keep people informed.

It’s worth saying that there a few rules to observe when using hashtags though, so you don’t look like a spammer or turn people off your feed.

Firstly, don’t use more than two hashtags per post. Any more appears spammy.

Keep your hashtags short. The whole point of Twitter is instant, succinct messages so don’t let your hashtags take up too many letters or characters. Facebook, of course, has no limit to its message length but the principle is still the same. Long hashtags will just annoy people.

Give your tag a meaning. You can search tagdef.com or simply type in the hashtag you want to use in to the Twitter search bar to see what it means and how people use it.

Spaces in hashtags are a no no. They should be one continuous phrase as gaps will break the link.

So, now you know the history of the hashtag and how to use them properly, make sure you use the #chestertweets regularly. It’s the most useful hashtag on the internet

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